at the Pan-American Exposition"
[An Interview with a Representative of the Western Electrician.]
This article w/ images, originally appeared in Western Electrician,
v. 29, no. 7 (Aug. 17, 1901) p.103. It is reproduced here in full.]
Fig. 1. Edison
at the Pan-American Exposition
A. Edison visited the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo during the latter
part of July and early part of August. He made his stopping place at Chautauqua,
running up to the exposition at his pleasure. Accompanied by Mrs. Edison,
these jaunts were replete with pleasure, and while in Buffalo Mr. Luther
Stieringer and many others paid the visitors much attention. Generally
speaking, Mr. Edison was delighted with the Pan-American. He found much
there to interest him, and also many who were interested in him and his
On the evening of
Tuesday, August 6th, he sailed from Buffalo on the steamer North Land
for a trip up the lakes, his intention being to visit the "Soo"
and points in Canada, partly on pleasure and partly on business. Just
previous to his departure from the Pan-American it was the pleasure of
a Western Electrician representative to meet him and be accorded an interesting
interview. The interview took place in the space of the Edison Manufacturing
company in the Electricity building. Standing all about outside the railing
of the enclosure were many people, all intent on seeing the new Edison
storage battery or listening to the phonograph selections, few of them
being aware that their presence simultaneously with that of Mr. Edison
was in the nature of a compliment to the great inventor.
the main features of your new storage battery, Mr. Edison ?" was
and it is only half the weight of other storage batteries," replied
"It has been
predicted that the time would come when the power of Niagara would be
shipped by the carload in storage batteries. Do you think it will ?"
It is doubtful. There is nothing in it commercially. But a large proportion
of the Niagara power transmitted to distances and used only in the daytime
could be utilized by storing it in batteries at night. You see, the
cost of the generating installation is the same whether the power is
used for 10 or 24 hours, and to get the double efficiency, the only
extra expense would be the cost of the batteries."
power be stored to any great extent in batteries ?"
will be a lot of it. As it is, tidal power is available only about two
or 2 ½ hours, but with the service of the storage battery it
will be available continuously."
your new battery is destined to be of great benefit and aid to the automobile
"Yes; it will
solve the traction problem, and will be especially serviceable in heavy
"Can the battery
be injured by jarring, for instance such jarring as it would get in
an automobile over a rough road?"
at my laboratory I have a battery that is on a rod that is jarred 26
times every minute, which is far more jarring and more severe jarring
than any battery ever gets in any way. This has been jarring a long
time, and there is no evidence of injury to the battery yet. And there
won't be any."
you have enjoyed the illumination of the Pan-American ?" was then
asked of Mr. Edison.
"Yes; it is
"Will it be
possible, in your estimation, for St. Louis to have a finer illumination?"
"I think they
will. Especially if they carry out Mr. Stieringer's ideas of lighting
the grounds and buildings. He has been for years trying to do what he
has at last done at the Pan-American, but the architects were all along
doubtful of results, and he didn't have his way. But at last they partially
agreed with him, and hence the lighting at the Pan-American, which would
have been still better if Stieringer hadn't been sick last spring."
"Then we may
expect a finer illumination at St. Louis?"
"If the architects
will only carry out Stieringer's suggestions, and do as he wants; not
as they want, they will have the grandest exhibition of lighting the
world has seen."
the Pan-American ?"
"Oh yes! Give
Stieringer his own way. This would have been better had Stieringer had
his way. He is the only man who makes a business or profession of lighting.
In other words, he is a lighting engineer."
"What is the
perfection of lighting, exposition lighting, as you see it ?"
of lighting will be when you can stand off half a mile at night and
see all the outlines of the buildings-cornices, windows and buildings
all outlined. The lines unbroken from top to bottom, horizontally and
perpendicularly. When you have perfect lighting, you will not see the
Fig. 2. Edison at the Pan-American Exposition
this point in the interview Henry Rustin, superintendent of the mechanical
and electrical bureau of the Pan-American, was introduced. It was the
first time he had met Mr. Edison. Luther Stieringer gave the introduction,
saying, "This is Mr. Rustin. I tell you if it hadn't been for him
and his good work, we'd have had no Omaha and no Pan-American."
Mr. Edison was evidently
pleased at Mr. Stieringer's generous words of praise for Mr. Rustin, and,
referring to the Pan-American illumination, he said: "This is out
The two men grasped
hands in a most cordial greeting, the one proud to meet the inventor of
the lamp that had developed his abilities in construction; the other glad
to know a man who had handled such a great lighting installation, the
largest ever known, with his lamps, with such eminent skill. Luther Stieringer
stood, by. It seemed a proud moment for him to bring Mr. Edison and Mr.
Rustin together. The representative of the Western Electrician could not
fail to note how Edison, Stier-inger, Rustin had, each one individual
fame through the incandescent lamp, and this was their first meeting.
What a trio!
recently been down to Niagara ?" continued the Western Electrician
representative, when Mr. Rustin had departed.
"Yes; I enjoyed
Niagara very much."
"It has made
a wonderful development during recent years. What is the future of Niagara,
as you see it ?"
continue to be utilized to a greater extent, but all locally. It is
destined to be a great electrochemical center."
don't think the power of Niagara is to be transmitted to a much greater
Kelvin was at the Falls he said to me: 'I look forward to the time when
the whole water from Lake Erie will find its way to the lower level
of Lake Ontario through machinery, doing more good for the world than
that great benefit which we now possess in the contemplation of the
splendid scene which we have presented before us at the present time
by the waterfall of Niagara.' Can you conceive such a change?"
"I think that
is what ought to be. If they will thin the water down from six feet
thick to six inches, it will give all thewhat do you call it?aesthetic
effect called for by romantic people and all that the commercial people
want, and everybody will be happy."
Niagara is destined to advance as an electrochemical center ?"
"Yes; it will
have many such industries. It will be a wonderful place."
power be used in smelting ores?"
"I don't know
why there are not several plants of that kind there now. They take a
lot of power, though. I know of three or four big things of this kind
that are about ready to locate to Niagara. They should be there now.
Niagara has the power, and that is what they require."
Niagara power development continue in greatness and extent?"
has a wonderful amount of power, and it is needed. That canal at Niagara
is a very practical thing. Very. I was much interested in it."
And after a generous
statement in regard to the graphite process of the Acheson International
Graphite company, Mr. Edison said good-bye, and was soon on his way to
meet Mrs. Edison in the Temple of Music.
illustrations are "snap-shots" taken of Mr. Edison while on
the grounds of the exposition. In Fig. 1
the group in the center consists of Mr. Edison, Mr. Stieringer and another
gentleman. Fig. 2 represents the same
gentlemen viewing the exposition in the rain. In both pictures Mr. Edison
is at the right of the group.
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